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Different opinions arise about potential Missoula County gas tax

Posted at 2:27 PM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 16:27:15-05

Missoula County commissioners introduced a resolution on Monday to place a 2-cent countywide gas tax on the June 2 primary election ballot.

Members of the public voiced both concern and support of the resolution at a public meeting on Thursday.

The gas tax could potentially generate $1.1 million to be used towards transportation infrastructure. While everyone at the meeting agreed our roads could use some work, not everyone agreed that a gas tax is the answer.

Proponents of the gas tax see this as a tool for economic development. Many said they think the tax is fair, seeing as those who use the roads and purchase gas will benefit from the subsequent road maintenance.

Opponents of the resolution were quick to respond. They worry that drivers will purchase their gas before they enter Missoula County, taking their business elsewhere and hurting local business owners in the process.

"I understand there’s issues with the roads and I see their point, I just disagree that this is the way to raise the revenue," said Earl Allen. "The state gas taxes have already been increased and will be increased a penny here in a couple years here again too, and I believe that the city and county are already benefiting from those higher taxes and that they should be more responsible with spending that money.

The Missoula County Commission will vote on whether to adopt the resolution during their next public meeting on March 5.